Synaptic Transmission at Single Glomeruli in the Turtle Cerebellum

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Science  24 Nov 1972:
Vol. 178, Issue 4063, pp. 881-883
DOI: 10.1126/science.178.4063.881


We have recorded from the granular layer of the turtle cerebellum extracellular unitary potentials that appear to reflect pre- and postsynaptic events at the synapse between a single swelling of a mossy fiber and the dendritic tips of several granule cells. The presynaptic component is an all-or-none potential. It can be directly activated by spinal stimulation and is unaltered by repetitive activity or by high concentrations of magnesium. The postsynaptic component is a graded potential. It follows the presynaptic component by approximately 1 millisecond and is depressed by repetitive activity and by high concentrations of magnesium. The recording of large potentials produced by the flow of postsynaptic current within a single glomerulus suggests powerful transmission. Electron micrographs demonstrate large cerebellar glomeruli in the turtle and a substantial accumulation of mitochondria in the dendritic tips of granule cells.